The New Serpentine Pavilion Is Reflective And Even More Reflective

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By M@ Last edited 6 months ago

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The New Serpentine Pavilion Is Reflective And Even More Reflective

It looks rather drab from the outside. Like a cross-section from some raffia garden furniture. But this year's Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens is a humdinger on the inside.

Come inside... it's lovely. Honest.

Long-time Londoners will know the score by now. Each year, Serpentine Galleries commissions a pavilion from an architect with no previous output in this country. The pavilion then stands beside the main gallery all summer long, serving as a platform for events and a place to sit and contemplate.

We suspect there won't be quite so many journalists here when you swing by.

This year's architect is Frida Escobedo, who hails from Mexico City. Her pavilion is beautiful in its simplicity. Built largely from roof tiles, the structure is centred on an enclosed courtyard, aligned to the Greenwich meridian (which doesn't pass nearby).

At first, it seems a bit too simple. Is this it? But spend some time admiring your surroundings, and the clever use of angles, partitions, shadows and reflective surfaces soon impresses.

This is a place to sit and reflect, then reflect again in the mirrored ceiling, and once again in the shallow pool — which we suspect many visitors will stumble into unwittingly.

The gaps between tiles let air and light into the structure, and will appeal to children who want to play 'spy on mummy and daddy'.

That said, this isn't best suited for over-sugared toddlers. We banged a knee on one of the sharp corners, and had visions of excited youngsters thwacking their way to a head wound.

But as a space for adults to meet, seat and breathe in the summer, it's a bit special. If it weren't for the giant sculpture by Christo on the Serpentine, this would be the summer's most instragrammable bit of art.

Oh, and there's a coffee bar in the corner, because there always is.

The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 by Frida Escobedo is on show until 7 October. Entrance is free. Look out for lunchtime events on selected Thursdays through summer.

Last Updated 11 June 2018